Official Website of Brunei Darussalam National Olympic Council
Thumbs up for Olympic Scholarships
Saturday, September 24, 2011

His Royal Highness Prince Hj Sufri
Bolkiah (R), the President of the
BNOC, presenting a certificate to
Anderson Lim Chee Wei (L) during
Thursday's athlete signing
ceremony for the London 2012
Olympic Scholarships. Picture:
BT/ Zamri Zainal

Both national athletics coach Isidrol Del Prado and national swim coach Eric Landa lauded the Brunei Darussalam National Olympic Council (BNOC) for securing two London 2012 Olympic Scholarships for hurdler Maziah Mahusin and swimmer Anderson Lim Chee Wei but Landa made sure to remind his swimmer that the scholarship does not automatically equal success.

"This is the first time that a national athlete has been granted an Olympic Scholarship. It will be a big help for her, to train for future training in local and international competitions alike," said Del Prado.

The high spirited Landa agreed, saying that the scholarship is a nice gesture and will help Brunei sports catch up to other countries.

"This (scholarship) happens to most of the developing countries and (Brunei) is like a developing country in sports because we are far behind. About 100 countries get the opportunity, like Brunei, to be granted the scholarship. Some countries have had 4 to 6 athletes receiving this Olympic Scholarship," said Landa.

"The population of Brunei is not very big to be able to get that amount of scholarships from the Olympics because it's very difficult to find good athletes here so these two make the exception.

"But with that said, from getting money alone it won't make you go faster. What it does do is open up more opportunities for (Lim) to get better. We don't necessarily need to leave the country to get faster; we have a good programme here going on," he said, emphasising that "Money doesn't do anything, it's just money."

The athletes will each receive US$1,000 a month to help with their training from September 2011 to August 2012.

"The $1000 could go to getting (Lim) better food or getting him into a training camp where he has rest, with school not coming in the way. These are the things that I think will help him," said Landa.

The coach went on to say that much more has to be done for the Sultanate's swimmers to live up to his standards and expectations, adding that a nutritionist will be sought after to better complement the training program.

The national swimmers are currently receiving nutritional advice from a consultant but the coach is looking for a more hands on nutritionist. "For now, they can't handle everything yet. If I were to start off the full extent of the training programme in just five months time, like most coaches do, the swimmers won't be able to get much," he said.

"So what I need to do is make sure we build them up. With a sports nutritionist, sports psychologist we're going to do a lot more stuff, being able to get analysis of their performance and a stricter diet... Right now, I'm just doing 20 per cent of what I can."

Brunei's swimmers, meanwhile, are busy preparing for the upcoming Asian Age Group Swimming Championships in Jakarta.

"Six athletes will be going there, four swimmers, one diver and a syncro girl," said the dutchman.

"After this in early November, we have the FINA/ARENA Swimming World Cup in Singapore. It's certainly a high level competition, with big names competing; one of which is Ian Thorpe who will be making his comeback. We have selected six so far, upon receiving confirmation just recently."

The Singapore event will be another short course competition, similar to the just concluded 4th Commonwealth Youth Games in the Isle of Man, United Kingdom.

Landa laughingly shared, "We'll make sure Florence (Florence Sea Wern Lyn) counts her laps well this time."

Sea was disqualified in her 800m freestyle in the United Kingdom after stopping her swim with only 30 laps done, thinking that she had completed the entire 32 laps.

An in-house competition will also be held on Oct 7 to select more swimmers that may be added to the Asian Age Group Swimming Championships contingent.

Meanwhile, contrary to an earlier report, it wasn't His Royal Highness Prince Hj Sufri Bolkiah who attended the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) general assembly in July but BNOC secretary-general Zuraimi Abdul Sani instead.

Courtesy from Brunei Times